A Question of Ownership by Ellen June Wright

A Question of Ownership | Ellen June Wright

Apostrophe I

If I say you’re mine 
as in I own you, 
I want to own you, 
to possess you—
is that love or 
something darker?

Apostrophe II

If when you die 
you leave everything behind 
did you ever really own anything 
or did all those things own you 
until they were done with you?

Apostrophe III

When a man owns another man 
enslaves him for life and his children 
and his children’s children 
is that a type of twisted love? 

Is obsession with the other 
with the dark stranger 
the sinewy foreigner passion?

If you’re compelled to mix 
your bloodline 
with your black slaves’ 
are you owned for eternity?

When you sell your child 
are you selling a part 
of yourself you will 
never get back?

If I am yours 
and we are bound together 
when will it ever end? 


About the Author:

Ellen June Wright was born in England of West Indian parents and immigrated to the United States as a child. She taught high-school language arts in New Jersey for three decades before retiring. She has consulted on guides for three PBS poetry series. Her work was selected as The Missouri Review’s Poem of the Week in June 2021. She was a finalist in the Gulf Stream 2020 summer poetry contest and is a founding member of Poets of Color virtual poetry workshop and recently received four 2021 Pushcart Prize Nominations for poetry.